I am delighted with the progress I’ve made with Mama Kitty this week! I’ve petted her quite a bit. I feed Miss Peanut and Mama Kitty on the front porch, where Miss Peanut lives in the Peanut Shack (she is mostly blind), and although Mama Kitty eats with her daughter, she likes to hang out on the back deck and annoys a few of the neighbors, I suppose. Mostly she sticks close to home and if I’m out in the yard she follows me around and supervises, with an occasional security check of the studio. I’m particularly fond of Mama Kitty because she is Squirt’s mama and they share a lot of personality traits, even though it has taken years to earn any of her trust.

One night I fed Miss Peanut and Mama Kitty didn’t come to my whistle. I went to the back deck where she was, and I scooped her up. I gave her a good kitty massage before I put her down. She ran around in a little circle, and then I picked her up again. This time I walked with her to the chair and sat down and tried to pet her in my lap, but that was a little too much. I put her down and she again ran around in a circle back to me instead of taking off. So I walked with her up to the front porch, talking to her about how Miss Peanut was going to eat all the canned food if she didn’t hurry, with her following behind me just like a happy little dog.

Now, I can’t get too attached to Mama Kitty. It’s bad enough already. She is very bony and I can’t get her to eat anything with de-wormer or medicine in it. She is 12 years old and semi-feral. I’m looking at potential heartbreak here. But I’m thinking that with this progress, I could possibly get this vet who makes house calls to come over and update her rabies shot, and do anything else possible for her. Plus, I could probably apply some Frontline or Revolution to her neck and make her life a lot more comfortable.

Yes, I am very wary about getting too attached to another of our cats. The way I felt about Squirt was so far beyond how I feel about the others, but I’m sure that was because I fed him by hand as a kitten. As far as he was concerned, I was his mama, and he was probably as close to a son as I’ll ever have.

I’ve thought a lot recently about the paradox that I’ve been happier than I have been in years since Squirt died three months ago, when I thought that Squirt’s death would surely send me to the loony bin or even leaving home on one of those middle-aged spirit journeys. I think that a good part of it is from changing my antidepressant and Sandy getting his job back. But it’s a lot more than that.

I have dreaded the day when I would have to put Squirt to sleep for ten years, since I fell in love with him as a little baby. I never could imagine how I could deal with it, and in my imagination I couldn’t see being with him as he died, and I couldn’t see NOT being with him as he died. I was with my father when he died, and it was a horrible experience. I couldn’t be with Sharky when I had him put to sleep. But I was with my little Squirtley, and I looked deeply into his eyes as he passed from this world, and he is at peace, and I survived.

I guess that I didn’t realize how deeply that dread had pervaded my life. I still miss him terribly, but I am relieved as well. Isn’t that strange. It makes sense, but I don’t really want it to make sense. I don’t want to be relieved that Squirt died. But I know that I am relieved, not because of his death, but because his death released me too. It is very complicated, the mixture of my grief and my happiness.

Now when I check my stats, I see that I get a lot of hits of people looking for solutions about feline CRF, and it saddens me that they will see a story with a sad ending. I realize now that Squirt must have been sick with CRF for a long, long time before he was diagnosed, plus he had so many other medical problems. In the end it was liver failure that got him. Just the difference in how much water I need to put down for our three other indoor cats now that Squirt’s gone has made me realize how long Squirt was sick. His thirst had increased over a long period of time until it was excessive enough for me to notice.

So if you’re reading this because you’re desperate to find a solution to your cat’s CRF, I hope that you won’t despair. The fluids that we gave Squirt really did seems to help him. It’s just that he had come to the end of his life. It was an excellent life, and one that enriched mine forever.